Heading South, Portugese has given way to Spanish (kudos to Carlos for his tireless translations thru Brasil), Reals to Pesos, pasteis to empanadas, Flamengo or Corintheans to Boca Jr., samba to tango, and 70-ish degrees to 55-ish degrees.
The old adage (Hernaldo) claims South Americans find Argentinians to be snobby and aloof, and in turn Argentinians think that way of Portenos (people of the River Plate port, i.e. Buenos Aires residents). So far, however, nothing but platitudes to report here at one of the most cosmopolitan stops on our itinerary.
I'm sure our faithful readers will forgive our non-chronological postings, and perhaps text-heavy entries, as images/videos take a while to upload. Anyway, one of us will fill you in on the thoroughly amazing Iguacu Falls and the Itaipu Dam, from which we took a surprisingly pleasant 18-hr bus ride to Buenos Aires, where we have taken up residence (at $12/night hostel) in the ritzy Recoleta neighborhood. The Wallpaper* City Guide describes our current 'hood as "A little slice of Paris' staid, salubrious 16th arrondissement in South America." I've not been to Paris, but Recoleta is replete with comfortable confiterias (bakery/coffeeshop/cafes), fashionable clothing stores, and grand architecture--Beaux Arts and other styles of which we learned nothing in graduate school if a little in undergrad. Tree-lined streets sandwiched by rusticated stone, wrought iron, sculpted gargoyles, and mansard roofs. Meandering through the city in our first day and a half, we have explored the Microcentro (business/museum district), Puerto Madero (a recent dockland development with its own thoroughly-photographed, pivoting Calatrava pedestrian bridge), Avenida Florida (pedestrianized shopping area), and other neighborhoods. Last night we checked out Palermo, a very cool part of town full of restaurants, bars, clubs, all different cuisines, bebidas, tunes, crowds, and scenes, indoors and outdoors. Nightlife does not even pick up until around 1-2am, as Portenos generally don't eat until 9 or 10pm, which is followed by a nap before hitting the town. This meant that as we were getting tired, places were just coming alive. So no doubt we rallied, even Joey stayed out until 7am or so (playing bingo at the church, of course...)
It's about time for a quick power nap before heading out tonight. It looks like Palermo/Palermo Viejo tonight, and tomorrow San Telmo (perhaps Mike will be forced to take a tango lesson, or at least watch), La Boca, and if we can find cheap tickets, the Argentina-Ecuador qualifier match. I'm also very excited to meet for the first time a large branch of my extended family for a Dia del Padre (Father's Day) lunch tomorrow. Happy Father's Day to all back home.
-DH, el hombre martillo